Posts Tagged ‘Custom Tubing’

Understanding Radiopacifiers

Monday, May 17th, 2010

In many custom tubing applications, it is desirable to manufacture the components such that they can be seen with fluoroscopy or x-ray imaging. Typically this is done by blending the polymer with another material, the radiopacifier, which is chosen because it has a higher radiopacity. With many different radiopacifiers available, it is useful to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each before making a selection.

Barium Sulfate(BaSO4) – Barium Sulfate is the most commonly used radiopacifier for almost all medical applications where imaging is an issue, including catheters and other types of tubing. While BaSO4 does not have the highest level of radiopacity, it remains moderately priced compared to the alternatives. Because it is not as dense as other radiopacifiers, a high volume of barium is needed to achieve a high level of radiopacity and typically the barium begins to affect the strength of the polymer after it exceeds 20% by volume. BaS04 also tends to mix more easily with elastomers than the other alternatives.

Bismuth(Bi) – Several different bismuth salts are commonly used as radiopacifiers, all of which have a higher density than Barium Sulfate. The high density creates a higher weight-to-volume ratio, which means that the resulting polymer can be more radiopaque with a lower volume percentage of the bismuth salt. While bismuth fillers have been growing in popularity, the fact that they are much more expensive than Barium Sulfate still precludes their use for certain applications.

Tungsten(W) – Tungsten is considerably more dense than the other alternatives, providing the highest weight-to-volume ratio of any commonly used radiopacifier. Because of this, polymers made with tungsten can be extremely radiopaque without a significant change in mechanical properties. Though raw tungsten is also relatively inexpensive, its other properties ultimately make it a more expensive choice for many applications:
1. Tungsten is highly flammable
2. Tungsten is black and extremely difficult to change the color of
3. Tungsten is abrasive, causing accelerated wear on processing equipment and surface roughness in the end result

3D Printing is an automatic “Hole-in-One”

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

What does 3D printing and golf have in common?

If you’re TaylorMade and pro golfer Mark O’Meara you can equate it with success — affecting both game performance and sales performance.

When TaylorMade was looking to produce a new set of irons, they turned to O’Meara and 3D printing. While the story is not recent, it is relevant as to the beneficial use of 3D printing.

O’Meara was getting ready for the 1998 Skins Game and asked TaylorMade to have the irons ready in time for him to use during the tournament. TaylorMade had limited time to test and develop its new set of clubs, but because of the availability and expediency of 3D printing, they were able to create 50 wax patterns on a 3D printer, which were then sent to a foundry for casting and finishing.

The end result: The prototype of the Firesole Tour Irons were developed on time using 3D printing, which also provided for tremendous cost-savings—and of course, O’Meara won the Skins Game.

While not every manufacturer has a pro golfer at their disposal to test new products, it does have access to 3D printing technology that can assist its design engineers throughout the product development process.

3D Printing has provided innovative solutions to companies like TaylorMade, but also has been utilized for manufacturers who develop medical equipment for people with disabilities, and 3D printing has also assisted EOIR technologies with the development of a camera mount for the M1 tank and Bradley fighting vehicle.

From the frontline to the golf course, 3D printing technology takes the guesswork out of prototype development to ensure a product’s performance under all “stressful” conditions.


Which Poly Tubing is right for you?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Poly tubing means different things to different users because it covers such a wide breadth of products.

Do you require an extrusion with radiopaque materials? Then single lumen tubing is an ideal poly tubing selection.

Perhaps you need limitless options in manufacturing poly tubing because your application is complex and requires multiple channels—then multi-lumen clear tubing may work best.

The ability for customer tubing manufacturers to make poly tubing from a variety of thermoplastic materials adds to it being adaptable for a number of other uses. For example:

  • Polycarbonate is chosen when customers need toughness, clarity and high-heat tolerance are need from the poly tubing. This thermoplastic is often selected for poly tubing used in conduits or appliances.
  • Polyethylene is specified when small diameter poly clear tubing needs to be flexible and withstand repeated flexing with marginal negative impact. It has excellent chemical and gas resistance which makes it perfect for those in the medical industry.
  • Polypropylene tubing is quite versatile with a high heat tolerance and therefore is a perfect material for fiber spinning, laminating, injection molding, etc.
  • And when the poly tubing is going to be exposed to potential harsh conditions, polyurethane is select as it is abrasion and tear-resistant.

One of the key benefits of custom manufacturing poly tubing is its relatively low costs, and its compliance with FDA, USDA, NSF, and UL regulations. This makes it an ideal choice for leading industries when they need high performance and quality from their poly tubing.


No sun block necessary for thermoplastic tubing

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Typically speaking, U.V. light and ozone have been known to cause health damage to humans, but what are its effects on thermoplastic tubing?

Depending on the length of time thermo plastic tubing is utilized in certain applications—whether it’s exposed to ozone or to UV light—will determine which polymer is used to manufacture the thermoplastic extruded tubing. Taking material selection into consideration, and then adding a UV stabilizer, for example, lowers the risk that excessive exposure to potentially harmful environmental conditions cause that may compromise the performance characteristics of the thermoplastic tube. Several thermoplastic extrusion materials include polycarbonate, polyurethane, polypropylene, as well as custom compounds.

The importance of thermoplastic extruded tubing being able to withstand UV damage means different things to different people depending on the industry.

For those in the medical industry, some active agents in certain drugs will degrade when exposed to UV light. Therefore, it’s critical that the thermoplastic rod be UV resistant, such as that of thermoplastic polycarbonate that will block harmful rays from damaging the effectiveness of medications.

If the thermoplastic tubing will be subjected to outdoor applications, then custom tubing manufacturers may recommend the use of either thermoplastic polyethylene tubing or thermoplastic polypropylene tubing. As this type of exposure accelerates the deterioration rate of certain chemical properties that thermoplastic tubing is comprised of. Both will deliver reliable performance against environment stress cracking, which could cause leakage of fuels and oils.

As demonstrated, damage caused to thermoplastic tubing by long exposure of either the ozone or UV light has negative effects to be avoided. So before you select your thermoplastic tubing, consult with your custom tubing manufacturer.


Go with the [clear nylon tubing] flow

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Thanks to scientists at DuPont back who invented nylon in 1931 numerous industries have been afforded the opportunity to manufacture a myriad of products because of this highly durable “miracle fiber”—products such as clear nylon tubing . And if you live in the Northeast, you may appreciate its introduction to the industrial world even more so—particularly knowing that clear nylon tubing is available for purchase.

Being exposed to freezing temperature during the winter months can cause its share of problems. Before you know, it’s only early January and a coat of ice has covered everything from your walkway to a tree limb. But did you also know that your well pump could be comprised if you’re not using clear nylon tubing?

The last task you want to be undertaking in the winter is a tubing replacement project for your well pump, which is why clear nylon tubing is highly recommended for this application purpose. It will not become brittle or swell because of water. And best of all—nylon tubing can withstand subfreezing temperatures.

With a high quality clear nylon tubing installed, you can be assured that if the pump stops working and no water is running through the tubing, that the clear nylon tubing will continues to perform in these harsh conditions when the pump becomes operable again.
And given clear nylon tubing’s resistance to corrosion and stress-cracking the result is obvious– you have flowing water!

Who would have thought that clear plastic tubing could be one of the single most important components to transport a water supply?


Making the Grade…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

If time is of the essence and nothing can be left to chance,
medical grade pvc tubing must perform at its optimal level to satisfy those who rely on its resiliency.

Although it is easily manufactured, medical grade PVC tubing must have certain performance characteristics to be used in medical applications, such as for oxygen transfer, surgical drains, and peristaltic pumps to name a few. Those critical properties encompass, but are not limited to the following, for grade PVC tubing:

  • Medical grade must be manufactured using non-toxic, lead-free materials that conform to FDA standards
  • Medical grade PVC must be manufactured in a Class 100,000 clean room with strict adherence to GMPs.
  • Surface properties, physical and mechanical properties, biostability, etc, must be evaluated to ensure medical grade PVC tubing its suitable for critical applications, such as for catheters
  • The medical grade PVC tubing should maintain low temperature characteristics that make it suitable for certain applications that require it, such as blood collection.
  • Medical grade PVC tubes must be resistant to corrosion and other chemicals.

Of course, depending on the specific application, other characteristics of the medical grade PVC tubes are taken in account, such as whether it will be used on a high-risk patient. In this case, the medical grade PVC tube must be made in a non-DEHP plastic. If the medical grade tubing is used for transfusions, chemotherapy, or for feeding tubes then it is critical that its fluid pathway kink-resistant to reduce air bubbles and clotting.
Providing the medical grade PVC tubing continues to “pass the test”, medical professionals will be able to depend upon it for maintaining patient care.


C-Flex™, Texin™, and Pebax™ ,..more than just a plastic

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Thermoplastics—a polymer so powerful that not only do they sustain the business of the custom plastic manufacturing industry, but it also sustains the lives of people.

This highly desirable material allows customer plastic manufacturing companies to produce custom plastic tubing in a wide variety of compounds and configurations like custom plastic striped tubing with Radiopaques material suited to allow for visibility under fluoroscopic examinations, or multi-colored plastic tubing used to enhance maintenance traceability.

But why is that important that there are numerous thermoplastics for product engineers to choose from when developing their products? More often times than not to make custom plastic tubing in one of the available thermoplastics on the market have been a matter of life or death. For people who suffer from sleep apnea, custom plastic tubing made from C-Flex used in oxygen therapy better facilitates their respiratory flow.

For those in the medical profession, they rely upon the puncture-resistant and flexible properties of Texin for custom plastic tubing used for catheters. And because of the increasing advancements in medical devices, a thermoplastic, such as Pebax is gaining popularity in that market place. This compound is used to make custom plastic tubing used in non-invasive surgical devices that has also allowed for advances in surgical technology.

With a keen eye toward the future, experienced custom plastic manufacturing facilities are working with their customers to continually make improvements in the design of their custom plastic tubing.  Whether it’s to manufacture flexible plastic tubing for electronic equipment or minimizing the tolerances of a custom plastic product needed for a medical device—by working together the innovative results are making the custom plastic tubing industry a market to watch.


The smaller [the medical catheter tubing] the better …

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

In the case of medical catheter tubing, size does matter. And it is during medical procedures that utilize catheter tubes that medical catheter tubing be manufactured to the smallest diameter possible.

The manufacturing of catheter tubes is a sensitive procedure as optimizing its performance is ever so critical. The purposes for which medical catheter tubes are utilized are essentially a matter of life and (hopefully not) death.
Medical catheter tubes are designed so that it allows for some of the following performance criteria:

Ease of Use – Catheter tubing has to withstand the pressure of it being inserted into a patient and withdrawn without difficulty.

Kink Resistance – Often times because of the required length of medical catheter tubes, it’s imperative that it maintain its rigidity and flexibility so that a catheter tube can be manipulated in complex procedures.

Pressure resistance – Much along the ideas noted above, because medical catheter tubes are small in diameter, it also must maintain its properties to continue performing reliably under any conditions to which the catheter tube is exposed.

Most importantly, it’s exact position adjustability of medical catheter tubing that medical professionals rely upon. Catheter tubes need to be designed to allow for accuracy during the insertion process, whether it’s being inserted into a blood vessel, cavity, or any part of the body. It must allow for a smooth and uncompromised flow of fluids, such as an IV, or permit for the easy removal of a blood clot.

Despite the small diameter of medical catheter tubing it functions as one of the most resilient tubes manufactured by custom tubing manufacturers.


No space is too small for multi lumen tubing

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The extrusion configurations available for multi lumen plastic tubing are vast.

As a matter of fact, some would say the design options in manufacturing multi lumen tubes are essentially “limitless”. And the more options available the better opportunities design engineers will be afforded to advance the technology of the products for which multi lumen tubing is often used.

Let’s think about multi lumen tubes it for a moment.

Some of the minimally invasive surgeries performed today that now use small diameter medical lumen tubes produce little scarring, speed recovery, and allow for shorter hospitization such as with an angioplasty. In the past it would have involved a more extensive surgical procedure, caused heavy scarring and discomfort, as well as an expensive and lengthy hospital stay.

One of the reasons for this procedure’s success is dependent about custom tubing manufacturers making multi lumen tubing in tight tolerances—0.0005 in. This accommodates the small space restrictions without depleting the quality of the medical lumen tubes’ performance, such as maintaining flexibility and being kink-resistant.

Now in examining specialty medical instrumentation—due to rapid advances in today’s medical devices, medical lumen tubing is often manufactured with up to eight lumens. This is done to accommodate all the various wiring for the equipment’s function. Yet it’s often specified that the tolerances also be tightened so that procedure can be performed in smaller spaces.
Even at this quick glimpse, it’s obvious that the more advances the medical industry makes the greater the need for innovation in producing more medical lumen tubing in smaller diameters